Monday, November 16, 2020 2:35 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
A Lagos business man Babatunde Saka and his company Ofly Global Resources Limited,in a suit filed before a Lagos high Court south west Nigeria,are urging the court to compel Economic and Financial Crime Commission EFCC to investigate a staff of Lagos University Teaching Hospital LUTH, Saheed Ayinla Ogundare, who trade under the name and style of SEADROF HOTELS AND SUITES operating from Block2,Flat5,LUTH Staff Quarters Idi Araba Mushin Lagos, for alleged diversion of funds of the Teaching hospital.
Joined as co-defendants in the ensuing legal hostility, are Lagos University Teaching Hospital LUTH, Economic and Financial Crime Commission EFCC, a Lagos businessman, Kolawole Bankole, trading under the name and style of DE RITZ HOTEL and a limited liability company, PRIMAL HOTEL AND RESORT SERVICES LIMITED.
According to a statement of claim, accompanied by written statement on oath of Babatunde Saka and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister King Ola Wilson,on behalf of the Claimants, what led to the current legal action started on 8th of August,2016 by a contract agreement.
Kolawole Bankole let his 15 bedrooms hotel with related facilities known as DE NEST Hotel at 5 M.K.O. Abiola Crescent to him.
Saka averred further that when he took over the hotel, the expenses he incured,asides down payment deposit made, was N3million.
The claimant averred that by another contract executed on 14 July,2017,he entered into another contract with Kolawole Bankole in respect of a 35- bedroom hotel with other related facilities, Primal Hotel and Resort Services Limited at 46B Isaac John Street,G.R.A. Ikeja Lagos Nigeria.
When he took over the second hotel, the total expenses he incurred, asides the deposit payment is N8.8 million.
However, on two diverse dates, Kolawole Bankole, who is operating in dual capacities was alleged to have stormed Primal Hotel and resort services granted to the claimant vide contract on 16th October,2019 with thugs and forcefully took over the property, drove the claimants and their staff away from the property and seized all their purchased items in the hotel. These were without recourse to the provision of the contract as per notice to be given by either of the parties who desires to terminate the contract.
On 6 February,2020, Kolawole Bankole also repeated his action in respect of De-Nest Hotel,and took over all the claimant’s purchased items to enhance the value of the hotel and all pleas to release them were to no avail.
The claimant made complaint about the illegal and unlawful seizure of the generators and other items belonging to them to the Assistant Inspector General of Police,at Nigeria Police Force Criminal investigation Department Alagbon Lagos vide a petition dated 24th October,2019.
He is claiming the sum of N21.8 million.
Saka avered further that from introduction given by Kolawole Bankole,Saheed Ayinla Ogundare was thought to be a customers’ resource agent who was bringing the staff of LUTH and her guests to Prima hotel and Resort for lodging whilst it was under the claimant’s management and that after lodging, some money would be paid into the claimant’s bank account. Whatever is paid into the claimant’s account in respect of lodging, the actual lodging fees are subtracted and the difference would be remitted to Saheed Ayinla Ogundare as his agency fees/commission. Unknowingly as at that time Saheed Ayinla Ogundare was still in the employment of LUTH.
However,after they were illegally and unlawfully evicted from the two hotels, Saheed Ayinla Ogundare took over the management and started to operate same under the name and style of “SEADROF HOTEL AND SUITES as against civil/public service rule which is also illegal.
After the Primal hotel and Resort was taken over from the claimants, Ogundare paid a total sum of N3.8 million into the account of the claimants, which was later remitted back to him.
What prompted their suspicion about the various money paid into the account of Ofly Global Resources Limited was that,Saheed Ayinla Ogundare who was assumed to be customer resources agent took over the operation and management of Primal Hotel and resort and continued to pay money into the account of the claimants, whereby they used the account of the company to collect a total sum of N3.8million.
The claimant then perceived that a day of reckoning by an auditor may come which may implicate them in the transactions. Besides, the claimants as Nigerians have a civil duties to take necessary step to inform the authority where they have a reasonable suspicion of a crime.
Consequently, the claimants claims against the defendants jointly and severally are as follows
The sum of N15million as general damages and special damages.
Declaration that the forceful and wrongful take-over of the hotels and seizure and continued detention of the claimant’s items purchased to enhance and improve the management of the two hotels by Kolawole Bankole without resorting to the provision of the contract is unlawful and illegal
Declaration that Saheed Ayinla Ogundare as a public servant in the employment of LUTH to engage in a private business and managing a hotel is unlawful.
Order directing EFCC to investigate the propriety of Saheed Ayinla Ogundare, a staff of LUTH, operating a business name and style of SEADROF HOTELS AND SUITES while in the employ of LUTH. The circumstances and reasons for transferring of several money into the claimant’s company account, and later collect them when he has seized to operate or manage the hotel.
The cost of this legal action and out of pocket expenses.
Meanwhile, the presiding Judge, Ganiyu Safari, has adjourned till 21 December,2020 for report of service of the court process.